Now that the weather is heating up, it’s the time of the year when our music tastes start turning towards those short, infectious pop songs that encapsulate the spirit of the season. On his latest release, If We’re Not Talking, Vivek Shraya has created a sexy ode to electropop that’s loaded with catchy choruses that will make your hips shake.
Running at just over twenty-five minutes, the nine-song album has no extra frills or padding. The songs quickly run through the verse-chorus structure, allowing enough time for the melody to soak in but simultaneously making sure they don’t repeat to the point of exhaustion. With seven of the songs clocking in at less than three minutes each, it’s easy to put the album on repeat and not draw tired of it on each successive listen.
While the disc is somewhat varied in its electronic sound, there is a healthy dose of Prince throughout it. The falsetto on the title-track, combined with the chorus’ simple question of, “If we’re not talking/If we’re not touching/What are we?” focuses in on the influence Prince’s music has on the album, in the form of both the lyrics and music. Most of the lyrics focus on either bodies in contact or in motion, while the beats provided a fuzzy, rough undercurrent, forming an aural metaphor for Shraya’s words. Sometimes the lyrics can be cringe worthy (for instance, “Like a pack of cigarettes, I’m cancering you dry,” from “Chemistry”), but they make their point emphatically clear.
If you’re looking for a summer anthem, there might not be a better song than “Your Name,” which features guest vocals from Sara Quin (of Tegan and Sara). The soft verses and Shraya’s wavering voice form a nice dynamic with the punchy, staccato bursts of the electric guitar that define the chorus. This song then gives way to the bounciness that propels “Fevered,” a tune made for dance floors and fist-pumping. If We’re Not Talking features two ballads, “Power” and “SOS,” which are placed to breakup the constant onslaught of uptempo songs and show that Shraya’s songwriting goes beyond the limits of electronic pop music.
The only big problem is that it’s sometimes uneven in the ordering of the songs. There is no blank space between “Scratch” and “If We’re Not Talking” and the sudden jump from the former to the latter is very jarring. The same holds true for the transition from “Chemistry” to “Power,” leaving the album sounding clunky in parts. With such a short running time, there’s ample space to allow for a bit of a gap or musical bridge between songs which would allow If We’re Not Talking to be a more cohesive album.